Friday, October 24, 2008

Bible Words & Theological Terms Made Easy, Wayne Jackson

Bible Words and Theological Terms Made Easy –
A Practical Handbook
, Wayne Jackson

Those who know me well realize I am an admirer of religious books and an avid student of Biblical Hebrew and Greek words and their usage. Some may not realize that, while I am a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University, I do not have a degree in Bible or Biblical Languages. I must rely more heavily on the research of others who have dedicated their lives to study one of the many areas relating to the Bible—language, geography, archaeology, apologetics, etc. As a consequence, I am always looking for materials that range in degree of difficulty with an eye for materials that will help someone new to an area of study whether they are a mature Christian not as familiar in a particular disciple or a new convert beginning their journey to a greater knowledge of God’s word. I have often admired radio commentator Rush Limbaugh’s use of the expression “making the complex understandable”. Indeed there are things that are either complex because the subject is deep and weighty or are complex because some desire to make things appear to be more complex than may actually be. Wayne Jackson usually writes at the level for the beginning to medium-level student but does so from a scholar standpoint that truly makes the “complex understandable”. He founded and edited the Christian Courier for over 40 years. If you are not reading the Christian Courier, then it is highly recommended you begin doing so. Wayne Jackson’s writings can also be found on the Internet at

This practical handbook is just that--practical. As Jackson writes on the back cover,
“This volume has not been designed for scholars who have the ability, the time, and the resources to consult compositions that are much more erudite than this abbreviated effort. This book is intended for the average Christian student, the new convert, the Bible class teacher, or even the busy minister, who, on occasion, may need to utilize a quick reference source.”
Wayne’s introduction to the work is excellent and should be read first. I particularly enjoyed his discussion about whether the words or thoughts are inspired. He drives the point home when he wrote “Jesus once declared that man must direct his life by the “words” that proceed from God (Mt. 4:4). If those “words” are not to be found in the Bible, where, pray tell, are they?” (Page v).

This reference work is more than a discussion of words found in the Bible. It also includes entries for each book of the Bible with a concise overview of the book. Plus, terms that are used in reference to Bible study are found; e.g., exegesis. Plus, there are terms that are used in religious discussion among various groups that are defined (and corrected when necessary) such as the rapture, extreme unction, universalism, etc. There are an estimated 8,600 Hebrew and Aramaic words and 5,600 Greek words in the Bible. (The number of English words exceeds 6,000.) One can literally spend their entire lives in study of these words and be enriched by doing so. This book, which is approximately 200 pages, is far from comprehensive but it is not meant to be. This book is intended as a starting point for those who want to begin their journey of learning more about the words of the Bible and related words used in theological circles. It is a valuable reference work to begin this journey on the right step.

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